Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok finds it “odd” that the FIA have reopened their investigation into Lewis Hamilton walking across the track in Qatar. Hamilton had crashed out on the opening lap after colliding with team-mate George Russell in the first corner.
A Safety Car was deployed after the crash with Hamilton’s Mercedes stuck in the gravel. Hamilton then exited his car and walked across the track with cars still racing around, just seconds before Russell came out of the pits.
The seven-time world champion apologised to race stewards afterwards as he was handed his first reprimand of the season. He was also fined £43,000 (€50,000) for the incident, but the FIA have now announced their revisiting the incident “in view of his role model status”.
The new investigation has raised some eyebrows with the FIA’s unprecedented decision coming under fire from former F1 driver Chandhok. “Not saying this should be condoned but I’m sure Lewis isn’t the first person to do this,” he wrote on X.
“Didn’t [Logan] Sargeant cross the track just at the previous event in Japan? Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before.
“Max [Verstappen] at Monza 2021 is another example I think…” Verstappen had walked on the track following his infamous crash with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix two years ago.
The FIA appear to have pinpointed Hamilton’s incident due to his “role model status”. Their statement read: “The FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”
A meeting is set to take place in Austin this week between the sport’s governing body and Hamilton to discuss the incident. The British racing superstar is yet to speak publicly on his original punishment from the race stewards for crossing the track while racing was still ongoing.
He was also investigated for causing a collision with Russell at the first corner, but no further action was taken.